Americans across the political spectrum embrace the goal of equality of opportunity, and see education as the primary social institution for achieving that goal. While there are sharp disagreements on the best way to improve education for children from low-income homes, most Americans accept that doing so is an important societal objective. Today, however, U.S. children face futures with less upward economic mobility than children in the United Kingdom and many European countries.
In Restoring Opportunity: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education (co-published by Harvard Education Press and The Russell Sage Foundation), Greg J. Duncan and Richard J. Murnane offer a vision for increasing opportunity for children across the United States. The authors draw from a rich body of scholarly research, and bring it to life through the stories of children, educators, and schools. They also identify barriers that prevent evidence-based programs and policies from going to scale, such as restrictive teacher contracts, poor support for principals, and teachers working in isolation.
Restoring Opportunity provides detailed portraits of proven initiatives that are transforming the lives of low-income children from prekindergarten through high school in Boston, Chicago and New York City. All of these programs are research-tested and have demonstrated sustained effectiveness over time and at significant scale. Together, they offer a powerful vision of what good instruction in effective schools can look like. The authors conclude by outlining the elements of a new agenda for education reform.